Renewable Heat Incentive RHI as it is fondly called refers essentially to the energy saving incentive in the form of financial support made available by the UK government to promote renewable heating technology in households, businesses, and industries. With the RHI scheme, you can receive payments quarterly for seven years if you have a renewable heating technology installed in your home.

The aim of RHI is to reduce the carbon emission in the UK, improve the energy sector and also meet the EU target of 12% of heating coming from renewable energy. This renewable heat incentive is available for both on and off-gas grid homes, although it is aimed at off the gas grid homes. RHI supports various renewable technologies such as Biomass boilers, ground source heat pump, air source heat pumps and solar panels that provide hot water.

Schemes Under The Renewable Heat Incentive RHI

There are two schemes under the RHI: one is for domestic homes while the other is for industrial and commercial properties. Each of these schemes has their varying conditions and incentives.

The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive

This RHI is for renewable heating systems in domestic properties. The individuals that qualify for the domestic renewable heat incentive will receive a domestic Energy performance certificate and they will be eligible to receive payments quarterly with regards to the amount of renewable energy used. This scheme was founded on April 9th, 2014 to encourage private property owners to embrace renewable heating systems.

The Non-Domestic Commercial Renewable Heat Incentive

This RHI applies to commercial properties such as industries, hospitals, businesses, and schools, it also applies to district heating which involves a single energy plant providing heating to different properties. This incentive, unlike the domestic RHI, is paid over 20 years.

Who Is Eligible To Apply For The Renewable Heat Incentive RHI?

The RHI scheme except self-build projects does not support all new build properties. Single domestic properties, private landlords, registered social housing providers, self-builders and owner occupiers are all eligible for the renewable heat incentive.


Only properties in England, Scotland, and Wales, are eligible for the RHI scheme. Applying for RHI is essential as, without it, you cannot receive the profits. Application for RHI is carried out at Ofgem online through their website or by phone. It is essential to make use of the digital assisted application if you are applying through the phone. An adviser will help you with your application, and all the necessary information will be posted to you. application for RHI does not require manual reviewing, this means that you will receive instant decision upon application.

The following requirements must be met in order to apply.

  1. MSC installation certification number for the renewable heating system
  2. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)number
  3. Green Deal Advice Report (GDAR) number
  4. Bank Details
  5. The amount, date and cost of Installation (if government grant or public fund was received)
  6. Seasonal Performance Factor (SPF) for application for heat pump RHI
  7. Installer metering Questions form (RHI systems with meters)


One of the common questions we get is air source heat pumps any good? Yes, air source heat pumps are a very good heating alternative.  If you have a gas or electric heating system or your energy bills are piling up, you need to consider air source heat pump systems. They are essentially a form of renewable heat pump systems that absorbs and transfers air from the outside to generate heat in an indoor area such as a home or office.

Air source heat pumps are also used as underfloor heating systems, to prepare hot water and heat radiators. Air source heat pumps function similar to a refrigerator as they extract heat from the air outside while refrigerators extract from the inside.

In the summer, the air source heat pumps can function as a cooling system and in really low temperatures, it can still get heat from the air. They also require electricity to run which means that they have various environmental impacts. Air source heat pumps are included in the renewable heat incentive RHI, which means property owners can receive incentives from the government while generating their own heat.


Air source heat pumps are usually kept outside of the property. The mechanism of this system involves the following:

  • Heat is extracted from the air outside
  • The heat which is absorbed at low temperature turns into a fluid
  • This fluid passes through the compressor where the temperature increases using a heat pump
  • The high temperature is now transferred to the heating / hot water circuits of the home

In the summer, however, the air source heat pump system can be operated in reverse to act as an air conditioning system that provides cool air to your home. The air source heat pump needs electricity to run but it produces more heat than the electricity it uses.


There are two major types of air source heat pump systems:

  • Air-to-air Heat Pump System

Air-to-air heat pump systems extract heat from the outside to produce water air which is then evenly circulated throughout the indoors of private or commercial property through a fan system.  Air-to-air heat pumps cannot supply hot water all year round.

  • Air-to-water Heat Pump System

Air-to-water heat pump systems extract heat from the air outside and make use of the wet central heating system to transfer this absorbed heat to provide indoor space heating, hot water, and underfloor heating. However, larger radiators are required to make the most of the underfloor heating system in your home. It is important to remember that heat pumps make use of low temperature to work more effectively than the standard water system.


The estimated cost of installing an air source heat pump system according to the Energy Saving Trust (EST) fluctuates between £6,000 and £11,000 and they are relatively cheaper than the ground source heat pump systems. There are various factors that the air source heat pump running costs depend on such as home size, insulation of your home and expected room temperature.


There are various factors that affect how much you can save with this pump system such as:

  • The efficiency of Your Air Source Heat Pump System

The effectiveness of the distribution system that you have plays a role in affecting how much you save. Underfloor heating is more effective than radiators as there is no need for very hot water. It is also important to make use of larger radiators in the occasion where there is no underfloor heating available.

  • Incurred Fuel Costs

Due to the fact that the air source heat pump systems are powered by electricity, you still need to pay fuel bills. The cost of fuel you are paying will also play a role in the amount of savings you will get although the fuel you are replacing will be saved.

  • The Heating System You Are Replacing

The ineffectiveness of your old heating system will most likely lower the running cost for you when you are getting a new heating pump system.

  • Use of the Heat Pump System

The efficiency of the heat pump system will be limited if it is also acting as a water system by providing hot water. Solar power is a better alternative to provide hot water and this will help with the overall effectiveness of the heat pump system. Other uses such as producing heat for the Indoors will aid in keeping the heat pump efficiency up.

  • Availability of Control Systems

Learning how to make use of the control system to control the heat pump is a good way of effectively making use of it. You will get the most out of your heating system if you learn how to control it efficiently.

  • Financial Assistance

Most air source heat pump systems are eligible for the renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme and EST estimates the RHI for a four-bedroom home to pay over £1,200 yearly. Whether you get money with the RHI plays a factor in the payback period and energy savings.


It is very important to remember that air source heat pump systems are not suitable for everyone and compiled below are the factors you should consider before you install an air source heat pump system in your home.

  • Adequate Space

Sufficient outdoor space is required in order to install the heat pump systems successfully. The system can be installed on the ground or wall but it is very important that the system has space around it so air can circulate.  For best results, mount these units in areas that receive frequent sunlight.

  • Insulation of Your Home

Before you install a heat pump system, ensure that your home is sufficiently insulated and free of draught to avoid heat loss as a result of air leaks. It is also very important to remember that the pump system works effectively when the heat is formed at low temperature.

  • Replacement Fuel Source

It is important to remember that radiator-based pump systems are the least effective compared to underfloor heating systems and warm air heating system due to the fact that low water temperatures are essential. This heating system works best if you are replacing fuel sources such as fossil fuels.

  • Type of Installation Build

Do you want to install the heat pump system in a new build? If yes, it is relatively cheaper this way although, in the long run, the heating system will offer low heating costs that will pay for the heat pump system installation. There are however regulations to follow if you want to install it on a new build.


  • Reduced Carbon Emissions

Unlike other sources of heat such as oil, biomass, LPG, and gas, the air source heat pump system does not produce any carbon emission if a renewable form of electricity such as wind or solar energy is used or it produces a low carbon footprint in the reverse case where fuel is used.

  • Ability to Deliver Heat at Very Low Temperature

Even in situations where the temperature is as low as – 14°C the heat pump will still provide heat for the indoor area.

  • Performs Various functions

The air source heat pump heats up the home as well as provides hit water for immediate and future use.

  • Low Maintenance

Compared to other sources of heat, the air source heat pump requires minimal maintenance and they have a lifespan of over 20 years which is relatively long compared to the others.

  • Diverse Abilities

In the winter, the air source heat pump has the ability to provide heat while in the summer, it can also provide cooling.

  • No Need for Fuel Storage

There is no use for storing fuel as this renewable heating system requires little to no fuel to function effectively. Oil deliveries are also unnecessary with this heat pump system.

  • Reduced Fuel Bills

Due to the fact that fuel is not a necessary item for producing electricity for this system to work, the fuel bill will significantly reduce. The air heat pump system can be powered using solar and wind energy so there is little to no use of fuel.

  • Potential Incentive Through RHI

The RHI scheme introduced by the UK is a scheme that offers payments to consumers making use of renewable heating technology and the air source heat pump is eligible for it.

  • Easy to Install

Compared to the ground source heat pump that requires digging, the air source heat pump is relatively easy to install.

  • Saves Money

Air source heat pump systems are cheaper than direct electric heating, ground source heat pumps, biomass boilers, oil boilers and gas boilers thus they save money as they demand less work than the others.


There are a number of benefits of using the air source heat pump to heat your home as indicated. On the other hand, the RHI provided by the UK government should be an added encouragement for people to switch to this type of renewable heat system in the near future.

If you have any question feel free to contact one of our experts who would be happy to consult you on Air Source Heat Pumps and provide reliable advise on how to best invest in renewable energy heating.